I like to make more elaborate meals on weekends when I have a lot of time, but try to keep my weeknight dinners simple. There is a variety of such speedy dishes like sandwiches, pasta, soups etc., but one of my favorite quick and easy dinners is a stir-fry. Not only are stir-frys simple to make, but they could also be made healthy by picking the right ingredients. Also, there is a lot of room to play with different flavors, colors and textures by choosing different combinations of vegetables as well as sauces, and you can use as many ingredients as you want! Heres a recipe for a vegetarian stir-fry with a peanut butter sauce. Along with vegetables, I’ve also used seitan (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wheat_gluten_(food)), which is basically wheat gluten, so it is a good source of protein. You can use any vegetables you like, as well as other proteins including meat, fish, tofu. For the sauce, I used peanut butter and soy sauce as the base, with other ingredients that help enhance the flavor. But the proportions of all these ingredients can be adjusted according to personal preference.
1 Tbsp oil
1 medium onion, chopped (~1 inch pieces)
1 orange/green bell pepper, chopped (Try to keep the size of all the chopped vegetables approximately the same so that they cook evenly)
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1.5 cups broccoli florets
1 cup seitan
5-6 basil leaves, chopped
1/4 cup roasted cashews
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 inch ginger, finely chopped
3 Tbsp peanut butter
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 Tbsp white wine vinegar (or lemon juice)
1 tsp honey
1/4 tsp paprika
1 tsp crushed red pepper
Blanch the broccoli florets by dropping them in boiling water for about a minute and then immediately drain them under cold running water. If using other denser vegetables like cauliflower, carrots etc., blanch those as well.
To make the sauce, mix the peanut butter, soy sauce, vinegar, honey, 1 Tbsp water, paprika, ginger, crushed red pepper flakes. Taste and adjust any ingredients to your liking. Add more water if required.
Heat a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add oil and swirl around.
Once oil is heated, add onions, chopped bell pepper and sauté for a minute. Add mushrooms, broccoli and seitan. Saute for another minute. Add roasted cashews and chopped basil.
Add the sauce and give a quick stir. Add salt according to taste (DO NOT add salt before the sauce since soy sauce is pretty salty).
If required, deglaze the pan (loosen and dissolve the bits of food stuck to the pan) with a little water. Remove from heat and serve hot. The stir-fry goes really well with rice, but is just as good by itself.